How and Why Height Increases and Body Grows During Puberty
What is Puberty?
Many teens do not understand the meaning of puberty and think when you take long without seeing any significant increase in vertical height then you have passed puberty stage so;
Puberty is the stage in life when boys or girls become sexually mature. It is a stage of bodily change that usually happens between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 to 17 years for boys.
What are the signs of entering Puberty stage?
Before boys and girls enter puberty stage, the only difference on their bodies is their genitalia.
However, when they reach puberty stage, they are affected differently
The first sign of puberty is usually breast development. Then growth of pubic hair and acne.
Menstruation or period which occurs between 12 and 13 yrs is the major sign of puberty and normally comes last.
Puberty usually begins with the testicles and penis getting bigger.
Then hair grows in the pubic area and armpits. Muscles grow, the voice deepens, and occasionally acne and facial hair develop as puberty continues.
But the major sign of puberty in boys is the first ejaculation and usually occurs around 13 yrs.
Both boys and girls also usually have a growth spurt (a rapid increase in height) that lasts for a
bout 2 or 3 years.
This brings them closer to their adult height, which they reach after puberty.
What should you do To grow taller Naturally During Puberty?
Even when genes are on your side there are a few environmental factors that may affect your full
height potential during puberty.
In short, even if genes are not on your side you can still significantly increase your height by manipulating the environment viz;
Endeavor to sleep 9-10 hrs if you still an adolescent. Enough sleep facilitates the release of growth
hormones for bone development. For more ways to increase growth hormones naturally during puberty, link to factors that influence release of growth hormones in the side bar of this page.
Unfortunately, A recent study at Drexel University of students aged 12 to 18 found that the vast majority of these students get less than the recommended eight or more hours of sleep during school nights.
Puberty occurs earlier for individuals who have been extremely well nourished throughout childhood, and for those who have not experienced significant illnesses.
Consuming plenty of amino acids rich protein foods like boiled eggs also facilitates the release of growth hormones.
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals necessary for bone development.
For more on nutrition, visit foods to eat to grow taller during and after puberty>>
Role of Zinc
When Zinc Supplementation on growth velocity in 79 children and adolescents (48 males, 38 females) with idiopathic short stature was assessed, it was established that zinc supplementation increases growth velocity over a 12-month period.
What is zinc?
Zinc is a micro mineral needed in the diet on a daily basis, but only in very small amounts (50 milligrams or less).
The first research studies to demonstrate the zinc’s importance in the diet focused on the issue of growth. When foods did not supply sufficient amounts of zinc, young men in Iran and Egypt were found to have impaired overall growth as well as impaired sexual maturation.
These initial studies on zinc reflected some of the key functions served by this mineral, including regulation of genetic activity and balance of carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar.
Other factors that may influence bone mass during puberty may include adequate calcium intake, physical activity, and ethnic background.
African-American children have more bone mineral density than do Caucasian and Hispanic children after age 5 years.
First of all, puberty is instructed by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads (ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy).
In response to the signals, the gonads release hormones that ;
~ Arouse libido and the growth function,
~ Transform the brain, skeletal bones, muscle, blood, skin, hair, breasts, and sexual organs.
~ Transform circulatory and respiratory systems (strength and stamina)
Differences in height increase Between Girls and boys During Puberty.
Bodily development in height and or weight is rapid in the first half of puberty and is completed when the child has developed an adult body.
Growth during puberty contributes approximately 30 ( 1ft) to 31 cm in boys which is 17 to 18% of the final height.
In girls it contributes approximately 27.5 to 29 cm which accounts for 17% of their final height.
The timing of the pubertal growth spurt occurs earlier in girls, on average 2 yrs earlier than boys but does not reach the magnitude of boys.
Girls average a Peak height velocity of approximately 3.5 inches per year. For boys it is approximately 4.1 inches per year.
The difference in the age at the onset of puberty, which provides boys with two additional years of pre-pubertal growth coupled with greater peak height velocity results in the average adult height difference of 4 – 5 inches between men and women.
Much of the height gain comes from increase in torso length. The series of rapid growth begins with hands and feet, moving inward with the torso growing in size last.
On average, males tend to gain more muscle weight, and females more body fat, over the course of puberty.
More on Factors That will Influence Growth During Puberty
The timing and tempo of pubertal maturation are primarily influenced by one’s genes.
The relationship between the size of the parents and child is weak during the first year of life, but rises by about 18 months of age . Adult stature, pace of growth, timing and rate of sexual development, skeletal maturation, and dental development are all significantly influenced by genetic factors accounting for 41 to 71%.
But the overall contribution of heredity to adult size and shape varies with environmental circumstances, and the two continuously interact throughout the entire period of growth.
Although moderate activity is associated with cardiovascular benefits and favorable changes in body composition, excessive physical activity during childhood and adolescence may negatively affect growth and adolescent development.
Excessive exercise is also associated with delayed pubertal changes. Sports that emphasize strict weight control in the setting of high-energy output are of particular concern. Studies of male scholastic wrestlers have shown decreased linear growth during the sport season with catch-up growth during the post season.
Studies of elite female gymnasts and dancers have likewise demonstrated delayed growth and pubertal maturation during periods of intense training.
Urbanization also has a positive effect on growth. Better child care is supported by sufficient food supply, appropriate health and sanitation services, and a higher level of education.
Over the last century, these factors have induced a taller stature and a more rapid maturity in Europe, North America, and Australia; a phenomenon which has been referred to as “the secular trend” in growth.
Growth Hormones and Other hormones.
The hormonal regulation of the growth spurt and the alterations in body composition depend on the release of the gonadotropins, leptin, the sex-steroids, and growth hormone.
P re-pubertally, growth hormone (G.H) and thyroid hormone are the primary hormones essential to growth.
G.H promotes the synthesis of protein, inhibits the formation of fat and carbohydrate, and is necessary for the proliferation of cartilage cells at the epiphyseal plate permitting linear growth.
Thyroid hormone is essential to normal growth and development of the central nervous system and works in concert with G.H to promote cartilage and bone formation.
In addition, insulin plays an important role in the regulation of growth through the supply of metabolic substrate to cells and interaction with other growth factors to influence fetal growth.
Studies of adolescent boys have shown that the rising levels of testosterone during puberty play a key role in enhancing spontaneous G.H secretion and production.
The ability of testosterone to stimulate pituitary G.H secretion, however, appears to be temporary because G.H and IGF-1 levels decrease significantly during late puberty and into adulthood despite continued high concentrations of gonadal steroid hormones. In contrast with testosterone, estrogen controls G.H secretory activity in a disparate manner;
low doses of estrogen stimulate IGF-1 production through enhanced G.H secretion, but higher doses inhibit IGF-1 production.
References And Further Reading
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/102/Supplement_3/507.full http://highered.mcgrawhill.com /sites/0072414561/student_view0/part1/chapter1/chapter_outline.html